VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Marriage is a sacrament not only for the bride and groom, but for the entire Catholic Church, because it proclaims that “love is possible,” Pope Francis said.
“It is true there are difficulties, there are problems with the children or with the couple themselves — arguments, fights,” he said May 25 at morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Seven couples celebrating their 25th or 50th wedding anniversaries were among those present at the Mass.
But the witness of couples who continue in love, who overcome the difficulties, he said, proclaims the beauty of God’s plan for humanity.
In the day’s Gospel reading from St. Mark, Jesus is asked by the Pharisees if it is lawful for a husband to divorce his wife.
Most members of the crowds who followed Jesus listened to him because they were thirsting for truth and for help in growing in faith, the pope said. But he said the Pharisees were interested only in trying to trip up Jesus by trying to reduce religion to a list of “yes you can” and “no you can’t” items.
But Jesus raises the bar, talking about creation and describing “marriage as if it were the most beautiful thing” that God made at the beginning of the world, he said.
Jesus tells them: “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Jesus “leaves aside the problem of separation and goes to the beauty of marriage, to the beauty of the couple who are united,” the pope said. “That which is one must remain one. That is what the Lord says.”
“Sometimes there is the misfortune that it does not work and it is better they separate to avoid a world war. But that is always a tragedy,” the pope said.
So often, he said, people seem to want to talk about separation and divorce, like the Pharisees did, but Jesus’ approach is to talk about the beauty of marriage and how it is a reflection of God’s love for humanity.
Pope Francis ended his homily praying that “the Lord would give the church and society a deeper, more beautiful awareness of marriage.”
The pope had begun the Mass with special prayers, too, prayers for the “gift of tears” for each individual’s sins and “for all the calamities that make the people of God and the children of God suffer.”
For the morning Mass, Pope Francis had placed a special reliquary on a small table to the left of the altar. The reliquary holds a cotton ball with the liquid from the famous Weeping Madonna of Syracuse, Sicily.
A Rome parish was hosting the reliquary for a special celebration, and Pope Francis had asked that it be brought to the Vatican for a day, reported L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103